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People v. Miller

Supreme Court of Michigan

July 20, 2015

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JOSEPH MILLER, Defendant-Appellee

Argued April 7, 2015.

Page 205

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 206

Joseph Miller was convicted by a jury in the Leelanau Circuit Court of operating while intoxicated (OWI), MCL 257.625(1), and operating while intoxicated causing serious impairment of another person's body function (OWI-injury), MCL 257.625(5), for an accident that resulted when he grabbed the steering wheel of the car that his girlfriend was driving. The court, Thomas G. Power, J., sentenced defendant to two concurrent terms of five years' probation, with the first nine months to be served in jail. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals, DONOFRIO, P.J., and SAAD and METER, JJ., in an unpublished opinion per curiam issued March 11, 2014 (Docket No. 314375), affirmed defendant's conviction for OWI-injury but vacated defendant's OWI conviction on the ground that it violated defendant's constitutional protection against double jeopardy. The Court of Appeals denied the prosecution's motion for reconsideration. The Supreme Court granted the prosecution's application for leave to appeal. 497 Mich. 881, 854 N.W.2d 715 (2014) .

For PEOPLE OF MI, Plaintiff-Appellee: MARK G. SANDS, LANSING, MI; LEELANAU COUNTY PROSECUTOR, SUTTONS BAY, MI.

For JOSEPH WILLIAM MILLER, Defendant-Appellant: MICHAEL L. MITTLESTAT, DETROIT, MI.

Chief Justice: Robert P. Young, Jr. Justices: Stephen J. Markman, Mary Beth Kelly, Brian K. Zahra, Bridget M. McCormack, David F. Viviano, Richard H. Bernstein.

OPINION

[498 Mich. 15] BEFORE THE ENTIRE BENCH

Page 207

David F. Viviano, J.

At issue before us is whether defendant's convictions of operating while intoxicated (OWI)[1] and operating while intoxicated causing serious impairment of the body function of another person (OWI-injury)[2] arising from a single intoxicated driving incident violated the double jeopardy clauses of the United States and Michigan Constitutions.[3] Although we agree with the Court of Appeals' conclusion that convicting defendant of both offenses violated his double jeopardy protections, we disagree with the reasoning employed by the Court of Appeals. In particular, the Court of Appeals erred by not recognizing the clear legislative intent reflected in the plain language of the statute precluding multiple punishments for OWI and OWI-injury. Accordingly, for the reasons stated below, we affirm the Court of Appeals' decision to vacate defendant's OWI conviction under MCL 257.625(1) on alternate grounds and remand to the trial court for resentencing.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In June 2012, while returning from a concert at which they had both been drinking alcohol, defendant [498 Mich. 16] and his girlfriend got into an argument. Defendant grabbed the wheel from his girlfriend, who was driving, causing the car to go off the road and strike a tree. Defendant's girlfriend suffered a broken collar bone and a concussion as a ...


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